Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Yaaar! A few years after the original, the first sequel be sailing into theaters.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writors: Ted Elliott,,
Terry Rossio, et al.

Cast:
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner
Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Swann
Bill Nighy and a boatload of special effects as Davy Jones
Lee Arenberg as Pintel
Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti
Jack Davenport as James Norrington
Tom Hollander as Lord Beckett
Other Actors as Various Characters

Premise:

Will Tuner and Elizabeth Swann face execution for helping Jack Sparrow in the previous movie, and can only secure their freedom by obtaining his magic compass. Sparrow, meanwhile, needs to find a key which could free him from Davy Jones, who in this version of things commands both the Flying Dutchman and the monstrous Kraken.

High Point:

It’s a mythological beast. I calls it what I wants.
–Ragetti

The first of several final sequences, the fight over the Dead Man’s Chest on the island. It’s exciting and parodic, and features excellent fight choreography.

The commentary by Pintel and Ragetti often proves amusing, and indicates that the writers have some idea of the film’s overwhelming goofiness.

Low Point:

The ending drags on too long, segueing from one potential ending to another and finally into an overly long commercial for Episode III.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The bizarre, Lovecraftian take on Davy Jones is original. Jones is Cthulhu Lite, and the film has some innovative fun with his crew. Otherwise, this film plunders the first one, with more and stranger effects and action sequences. The premise of the first film, of course, was not terribly original: a quest film that was a tribute to old swashbucklers and movie serials, and took its inspiration from a Disney ride. It wasn’t even the first film to be so-inspired; the distinction belongs to The Goonies (1985). Dead Man’s Chest makes its quest structure very clear, and frequently resembles a role-playing game.

Genre fans also may note that this is the middle film of a trilogy about a quest among strange worlds inhabited by exotic folk. It features two male heroes, one a scoundrel moving towards goodness and the other a somewhat dull noble man trying to find his inner tough guy and redeem his father. Both of these men are drawn to the same feisty woman, and all must deal with an evil empire and an inhuman villain who has a bounty on the scoundrel. Sound familiar?

Finally, the disturbing scene between father and son on the Flying Dutchman uses the plot device of a noted disturbing South African story.

Effects:6/6 This film features spectacular effects, of course, including decent CGI. Most memorable is this film’s conception of Davy Jones.

Story: 3/6. The story has everyone chasing after a couple of related McGuffins which lead them into various dangerous situations.

Acting: 5/6 The cast do what they’re supposed to be doing in this sort of movie. Depp remains entertaining as Jack Sparrow. However, this film lacks the simplified but engaging character interactions of its predecessor.

Production: 6/6 The filmmakers have created a distinct, often dark world for the film.

Emotional Response: 4/6. The film has thrills and suspense, but elicits few other kinds of emotional responses.

Overall: 4/6. This is an exceedingly silly film that works as a summer popcorn movie. It runs longer than its plot and characters can sustain.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest receives a total score of 30/42

10 replies on “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

  1. J_W_W says:

    Good Review
    Now that I think about it you’re right, the scoundrel and the ahem "farm boy" are both fighting over the same girl and other similarities are really apparent. However, I really hope she’s not his sister!! :-)

    It was a very fun movie to watch for one that DIDN’T HAVE AN ENDING.

    When talking to a friend about it I noted that as my low point and said (referencing back to your noted similarities) that it has a bigger and more annoying cliffhanger than Empire.

    • zonk3r says:

      Re: Good Review

      When talking to a friend about it I noted that as my low point and said (referencing back to your noted similarities) that it has a bigger and more annoying cliffhanger than Empire.

      They also needed to trim off about 20 minutes here and there of inaction. There were some pacing issues. It also seemed like occasionally they didn’t really have anything for Jack to do and they wrote in the script "Johnny Depp does something funny here".

      I kind of wish they did end it like Empire. It would have pissed folks off but you know damn well we’d all be in line for Ep 3. BTW, I can’t wait to see what they do with Keith Richards as Jack’s dad in 3. :)

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: Good Review

        BTW, I can’t wait to see what they do with Keith Richards as Jack’s dad in 3. :)

        I’m curious to see if they can get coherent dialogue from Richards.

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: Good Review

          BTW, I can’t wait to see what they do with Keith Richards as Jack’s dad in 3. :)

          I’m curious to see if they can get coherent dialogue from Richards.

          Who needs coherent dialogue from Jack Sparrow’s father? He’s barely coherent himself.

  2. Daemonik says:

    The monkey
    So why was the monkey still undead? Wasn’t the curse of the Aztec gold lifted in PotC-1?? So why the friggin’ undead monkey?

    Did they really have to bring back the two pirates from the first movie? Were they really that essential to this story?

    What’s with the reaction to the severed beating heart. "Oh, another one of those?" I mean, you don’t see a severed beating heart that often, you would think it would generate more discomfort in it’s beholders. Yes, yes, they’re arguably British, but I don’t think ‘stiff upper lip’ covers self-motive human organs.

    Yes they could have shaved 30 minutes off the movie quite easily I think. The fight on the paddlewheel was funny and interesting, but really was there a point? Same with Capt. Jack’s escape from the cannibals with the pole on his back.

    Shotgun script writing(throw a bunch of ideas on some paper and then write a story to connect them) does not a good movie make. Story first, then add the juicy bits.

    • nitefallz says:

      Re: The monkey

      So why was the monkey still undead? Wasn’t the curse of the Aztec gold lifted in PotC-1?? So why the friggin’ undead monkey?

      After the credits in PotC-1 they show the monkey swimming in the water towards the chest of gold. He hops onto it and snatches up a coin, then his skin flakes off and he’s "dead". Then turns towards the camera which flies off into his mouth.

      • y42 says:

        Re: The monkey

        So why was the monkey still undead? Wasn’t the curse of the Aztec gold lifted in PotC-1?? So why the friggin’ undead monkey?

        After the credits in PotC-1 they show the monkey swimming in the water towards the chest of gold. He hops onto it and snatches up a coin, then his skin flakes off and he’s "dead". Then turns towards the camera which flies off into his mouth.

        That was thourough, I’d have just said "learn to watch movies until the end, sucka" ;-)

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: The monkey

      Yes they could have shaved 30 minutes off the movie quite easily I think. The fight on the paddlewheel was funny and interesting, but really was there a point? Same with Capt. Jack’s escape from the cannibals with the pole on his back.

      Hey, at least they can run 2 shows a night of Pirates. Superman Returns is running at my local theater with 1 show a night. I’m still waiting for some of the stories about how "shocking" it is that Pirates made so much money to realize they’re getting an extra showing a night compared to Superman.

      I didn’t think this movie was too long at all. Superman Returns, while a very good movie, could easily have lost 20-30 minutes, or at least enough for it to get two showings a night.

      • Eldhrin says:

        Re: The monkey

        Yes they could have shaved 30 minutes off the movie quite easily I think. The fight on the paddlewheel was funny and interesting, but really was there a point? Same with Capt. Jack’s escape from the cannibals with the pole on his back.

        Hey, at least they can run 2 shows a night of Pirates. Superman Returns is running at my local theater with 1 show a night. I’m still waiting for some of the stories about how "shocking" it is that Pirates made so much money to realize they’re getting an extra showing a night compared to Superman.

        I didn’t think this movie was too long at all. Superman Returns, while a very good movie, could easily have lost 20-30 minutes, or at least enough for it to get two showings a night.

        Some parts of Superman Returns were definitely a bit too drawn-out. I didn’t feel the same for Pirates anywhere in it.

  3. Alexius says:

    Ninja’s Review…
    This Summed It Up Well.

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